SRC: Use windfall ‘consequentials’ to level playing field on large firms’ rates supplement

4 September 2019

Reacting to the Chancellor’s Spending Round announced earlier, David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said:

 

“Retailers are reinventing themselves in response to profound changes in shopping habits. This requires substantial outlays on digital infrastructure, revamped logistics and distribution, and a more highly skilled workforce. It is hugely challenging against a backdrop in which retail sales growth is flat and government-imposed tax and regulatory costs keep ratcheting up.

 

“The industry will be hoping the Finance Secretary uses the windfall ‘Barnett consequentials’ emanating from the Chancellor’s announcement to keep down business taxes, enhance the vitality of our town centres by cutting the cost of doing business on our high streets, and on GDP-enhancing infrastructure. In particular we want to see the level playing field with England on the large firms’ rates supplement restored by April, as envisaged by the Barclay Review. The current Scotland-only surcharge costs retailers £14.1 million extra each year. It raises the hurdle for commercial investment in physical premises and only serves to increase the attractiveness of investment in digital routes to market instead.”

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Note: SRC recently published its Scottish Budget submission, which provides ideas for how the Scottish Government can support the retail industry including on windfall receipts from UK government spending: https://brc.org.uk/news/2017/scottish-budget-2018